Go Naming Conventions

Michael Whatcott
Michael Whatcott
 • 
October 18, 2018
The style guide tutorial you never knew you didn't need
Tags

It's been said that naming is one of the two hardest problems in computer science along with cache invalidation and 'off-by-one' errors. (See what I did there?) Do you ever find yourself wondering what policies and practices you could adopt to make your life easier when reading code you wrote months ago? Or maybe you're up at night wishing you know how to write code in such a way as to maximize adoption and convenience for your users? Well, look no further because we've anticipated the need, solved the problem, and now we're sharing our knowledge and wisdom at no charge, all out of the goodness of our hearts in this comprehensive, totally no-nonsense (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) style guide of Go naming conventions.

What you are about to read might actually be helpful at some point but we're not betting on it. Don't try this at home...actually, do try this at home--but maybe don't try it at work.

Table of Contents

  1. Export local variable names
  2. Export local const names
  3. Export input argument names
  4. Export output arguments names
  5. Export reciever names
  6. Use single-character receiver names
  7. Use single-letter argument names
  8. Use double-letter names when you run out of single-letter
  9. Actually, use a generic receiver name like 'this',
  10. For added emphasis, use extended unicode characters for receiver names
  11. Always define import aliases
  12. Always export all imports
  13. Use single-letter (exported) import aliases
  14. In the spirit of #8 (above), use double-letter alias names when necessary

1: Export local variable names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	Message := "Always export local variable names"
	fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/8WVCvJpoa59

2: Export local const names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	const Message = "Always export constants defined in functions"
	fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/-0yZhHVNOOs

3: Export input argument names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	Print("Always export input argument names")
}

func Print(Message string) {
	fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/utRBMOMQNgj

4: Export output arguments names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	Print("Always export output argument names")
}

func Print(Message string) (N int, Err error) {
	return fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/n5cJhLDKNWk

5: Export reciever names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print("Always export receiver names")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (Printer *Printer) Print(Message string) (N int, Err error) {
	return fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/jEN-zkrjxdT

6: Use single-character receiver names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print(
		"Use only the first letter of a type as the receiver for its methods (oh, wait...), " + 
			"and (per tip #5) make sure the receiver is exported")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (P *Printer) Print(Message string) (N int, Err error) {
	return fmt.Println(Message)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/0OqQLnPPcVd

7: Use single-letter argument names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print("Use single-letter variables whenever possible")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (P *Printer) Print(M string) (N int, E error) {
	return fmt.Println(M)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/Q1jgH_6h2kT

8: Use double-letter names when you run out of single-letter names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print("Use double-letter variables when you run out of single-letter variables")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (P *Printer) Print(NN string) (N int, E error) {
	return fmt.Println(NN)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/k3p9Hf49-20

9: Actually, use a generic receiver name like 'this', 'self', or 'me'

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print("On second thought, use a generic receiver name like 'this', 'self', or 'me'.")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (this *Printer) Print(NN string) (N int, E error) {
	return fmt.Println(NN)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/mSMZRqUy4qw

10: For added emphasis, use extended unicode characters for receiver names

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
	new(Printer).Print("See what I did here? ;)")
}

type Printer struct{}

func (𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤 *Printer) Print(NN string) (N int, E error) {
	return fmt.Println(NN)
}

https://go.dev/play/p/VPpSDOZYYjT

11: Always define import aliases

package main

import fmt "fmt"

func main() {
	fmt.Println("Always define import aliases")
}

https://go.dev/play/p/zCOnEoNtAf4

12: Always export all imports

package main

import Fmt "fmt"

func main() {
	Fmt.Println("Always export all imports")
}

https://go.dev/play/p/_fEPiypASub

13: Use single-letter (exported) import aliases

package main

import F "fmt"

func main() {
	F.Println("Use single-letter (exported) import aliases")
}

https://go.dev/play/p/e8JQAlSKpnZ

14: In the spirit of #8 (above), use double-letter alias names when necessary

package main

import (
	F "flag"
	FF "fmt"
)

func main() {
	F.Parse()
	FF.Println("Use double-letter alias names when necessary")
}

https://go.dev/play/p/U0ac86PHUsb

Subscribe to our blog!
Learn more about RSS feeds here.
rss feed iconSubscribe Now
Read our recent posts
6 Ways Telecom & Internet Companies Leverage Address Data
Arrow Icon
In a recent webinar, we showed how address data tools help managers improve business performance in the following areas:Network PlanningAsset ManagementCustomer Acquisition and RetentionData BlendingMail and Parcel DeliveryFraud Reduction1. Network PlanningAccurate address data plays a critical role in overcoming network planning challenges. We presented solutions at each of the following steps in the network planning process: Clean existing address data with US Address VerificationKeep incoming data clean with US Address AutocompleteMap all addresses using our US Master Address List and hyper-accurate US Rooftop GeocodingAdd context to maps with enriched US Property DataAnalyze, get spatial insights, and make confident business decisions 2.
A Fresh Start: Clean Out Your Computer Day
Arrow Icon
In a world where the lines between digital and physical spaces blur, the health of our computers has a massive impact on our productivity and overall ability to perform well at work.  Clean Out Your Computer Day, observed on the second Monday of February, is the perfect opportunity to ensure that we declutter and optimize our virtual spaces. Just as we regularly clean our homes and offices, this day underscores the importance of maintaining a streamlined, efficient computer setup. The Digital Declutter: Where to StartStarting with the basics, sift through your files and programs.
Smarty's 2023 Address Data Deep Dive: Trends, Challenges, and Breakthroughs
Arrow Icon
We recently hosted a webinar where Brent Francom and Jeffrey Duncan, two of our Product Managers, talked about the lessons we learned and the improvements we've made in 2023. Here are the highlights. When you process so many addresses, you see things. We processed 327 billion+ addresses in 2023, equating to nearly 900 million per day or over 10,000 per second. When you process that many addresses, you find many funny and interesting ones. We keep a "Wall of Shame" with funny and malformed addresses that somehow validate.
Ready to get started?